Worship Matters: Worship and The Word Go Hand in Hand
- 2003 15 Apr
Worship and the Word go hand in hand. That's the premise of this series. Worship that departs from faithful adherence to inspired Scripture will inevitably drift from truth. We've been lingering in Psalm 19, exploring what this passage reveals about the wonders of the Word and how biblical truth ought to affect our worship.
The second half of verse 8 says, "The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes." David uses various synonyms for God's Word throughout this and other psalms-"law," "testimony," "precepts," and so on. Each of these terms emphasizes a particular aspect of Scripture, like turning a crystal in the sun to catch its beauty from different angles. Here, the word "commandment" reminds us of the authority of Scripture. Through His Word, God commands His people; He exerts His ruling power.
God is a non-negotiable authority. He is not a diplomat or a politician. He does not court favor, garner support, or cut deals. The Creator, Legislator, Redeemer, and Judge of the universe does not offer suggestions or elicit feedback. He rules and reigns. God is in heaven and he does whatever pleases Him. This one word, "commandment," reminds us that we are a people under authority. When we gather to worship, we gather in submission to a Ruler, in allegiance to a King.
This truth ought to affect the way we respond when the Bible is read in public gatherings. We must not attend to the proclamation of Scripture with attentiveness and reverence no greater than that which we give to church announcements. God's Word is the King speaking to his covenant people. When it is read, sung, prayed, and preached, I must quiet my heart, focus my thoughts, and attune my ears. It is the Lord of Glory who speaks.
Addressing a congregation on this issue, Douglas Wilson writes:
"Whenever the Word of God is read aloud, our duty is to listen respectfully, and listen carefully. Let every man reign in his distracted mind so that he actually attends to what the Word of God says. When the creatures of earth assemble before the Almighty, it is not becoming to fidget around in the back of the assembled crowd as though he were limited in what he can see. Not only is it not right, it is foolish. Let every man stop his carnal thoughts, those thoughts that argue with the goodness of God. God is not a man. You may not talk to him as one character to another. You are in the play, but he is the playwright. Remember-all Scripture is the breath of God, so compose yourself."
Strong words? Yes, but many of us need this stark reminder that the Bible is not just any book. To be distracted or inattentive when God speaks is to disregard His authority.
And these commands, our verse reminds us, are pure. They are clear and lucid. They enlighten our eyes. God's Word penetrates the fog and shadow of the world around us. By adhering to His commands, we can make our way with confidence. Our dim vision is cleared, and our path illuminated. For our Commander, remember, is a benevolent authority. He commands us for our good. He leads us to both victory and blessing.
Next week we'll wrap up this brief look at Psalm 19.
This article is based on a message Craig gave at Sovereign Grace's A Passion for the Glory of God worship conference. You can order the audio product from the Sovereign Grace Store.
The outlines for many of these conference messages are on the Sovereign Grace website.
Are you interested in another tool for Scripture memory? Try Mark Altrogge's Hide the Word series of Scriptures set to mini-songs. You can order these from the Sovereign Grace Store.
Craig Cabaniss is the Senior Pastor of Grace Church in San Diego